Small meat lockers working group: a participatory action research project to revitalize the decentralized meatpacking sector in Iowa

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2007-01-01
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Thiboumery, Arion
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Cornelia B. Flora
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Small meat lockers are critical pieces of Lyson's (2004) "civic agriculture." Unfortunately, in Iowa they have been declining for several decades. This thesis examines how civic engagement and our modern orientation towards bureaucratic structure have and do impact small meat lockers and how this impact can be negotiated by Habermas' (1987) "communicative rationality." The results come from a participatory action research working group composed of various stakeholders, attempting to revitalize small, decentralized meat processing in Iowa, specifically by negotiating bureaucracy. Lockers are found to need help in five areas: Business Planning & Feasibility, Financial Assistance, Plant Design, Plant Construction, and Labor. Business Planning & Feasibility and Financial Assistance resources are comprehensively examined. Labor is moderately examined. Plant Design and Plant Construction are preliminarily examined. Future research directions are provided for the latter three areas. This thesis concludes that communicative rationality has a particularly strong positive effect on rural development, because it encourages civic engagement by subjugating the bureaucratic drive for efficiency at the expense of civic communication. While progress can be made bureaucratically at the State level, small meat locker owner-operators should strive to work with local organizations that have power to provide assistance (financial or otherwise) based on human, civic understanding without overbearing bureaucracy. Yet, to do this they will have to hone their own capital accounting skills.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2007